Milling Wood for Custom Hardwood Floors

Milling starts with a project in mind. Years ago, my family and I lived on plywood for several years in my own home, which I had built myself. Despite being in the hardwood flooring business, I hadn’t yet installed hardwood floors in our main living space. One day, my wife asked, “Why don’t we have hardwood floors?” With limited funds, I decided milling my own wood from trees on our property was a good solution. This hands-on process not only provided us with beautiful flooring but also taught me the value of craftsmanship and the uniqueness of each piece of wood.

A picture of Tom Ourada in the forest milling wood for a custom hardwood art floor.

The Challenge of Milling Wood

Milling wood is more than just cutting logs; it’s a labor-intensive process requiring a lot of effort and knowledge. I started with one of the hardest logs to mill—a large, curved tree. The cuts need to be thicker to prevent issues like washboarding, where the wood doesn’t lay flat. Cleaning the logs properly before milling is crucial to avoid dulling the blades. This involves removing bark and any dirt to ensure a clean cut. Despite the challenges, each step is a labor of love, ensuring that the wood I use in my floors is of the highest quality and uniquely suited for each project.

A machine mills wood showing the process of milling for hardwood floors.

From Log to Slab: The Drying Process

Once the logs are milled, the drying process begins. It’s essential to dry the slabs slowly and carefully to prevent warping and ensure stability. This often involves stacking the slabs with spacers to allow air to circulate, drying them naturally for up to a year. For faster results, I use a kiln to bring moisture content down to 6-7%. This meticulous process ensures that my hardwood floors are not only beautiful but also durable and long-lasting, showcasing the unique character of each slab.

Ensuring Stability Through Proper Drying

Drying the wood is a critical step. If not done correctly, the wood can twist and warp, making it unsuitable for flooring. By taking the time to dry each piece properly, I ensure that the wood remains stable and ready for installation. This attention to detail is what sets Ourada Designs apart, ensuring that each floor is crafted to perfection.

A picture of dry hardwood showing the importance of proper drying.

The Final Steps: Crafting Custom Floors

The final step is transforming these slabs into stunning hardwood art floors. Each board is planed and sanded to perfection, highlighting the natural beauty and grain of the wood. Whether it’s the live edge pieces or the straight boards, every floor tells a story of its origin and the care put into its creation. By choosing Ourada Designs, you’re not just getting a floor; you’re investing in a piece of art crafted with dedication and passion, tailored specifically for your home.

A Personal Approach to Custom Flooring

Every project I undertake is personal. From selecting the right logs to the final installation, I’m involved in every step. This hands-on approach ensures that each floor is unique and meets the highest standards of quality. It’s not just about creating a beautiful floor; it’s about crafting a piece of art that enhances your home and stands the test of time.

The Satisfaction of a Finished Project

The satisfaction of seeing a project come together, from raw logs to a polished hardwood floor, is immense. Each floor I create is a testament to the time, effort, and expertise that go into making something truly special. It’s a reminder that the best things in life are often handcrafted with care and dedication.

Wood that has been milled recently.

The Journey of Custom Hardwood Floors

Creating custom hardwood floors is a journey that begins with a tree and ends with a beautiful floor that adds warmth and character to your home. At Ourada Designs, we take pride in every step of this journey, ensuring that each floor is crafted with the utmost care and attention to detail. Whether you’re looking for a unique live edge piece or a classic straight board floor, you can trust that we will deliver a product that exceeds your expectations.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the process and passion behind Ourada Designs. If you’re considering a custom hardwood floor for your home, I’d love to help you create something truly special.

You can learn more about my process for creating custom hardwood floors by clicking here. You can also see some of the awards my floors have won here.

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